Added: July 4, 2015 – Last updated: July 4, 2015


Author: Kyriaki Charalambous

Title: The Judicial Performativity of Rape Myths

Subtitle: A Discourse Analysis of Rape Court Decisions

In: Gender, Law and Institutions

Edited by: Mary Koutselini and Floria Valanidou

Place: Nicosia

Publisher: UNESCO Chair in Gender Equality and Women's Empowerment, University of Cyprus

Year: 2015

Pages: 135-146

ISBN-13: 9789963998036 – Find a Library: Wikipedia, WorldCat

Language: English

Keywords: 20th Century, 21st Century | Cyprian History | Prosecution: Trials; Society: Rape Myths


Link: University of Cyprus (Free Access)


Abstract: »This paper uses performativity theory to analyze the judicial discursivity of gender violence in court decisions on rape. Benedict’s hypothesis of rape myths, originally applied to press coverage of rape, is re-examined and re-applied towards a feminist investigation of Cypriot court decisions on rape. The sample includes 8 randomly selected rape court cases since the 1960s. These are selected from different decades, and most of the decisions were handed down on appeal. The focus on rape cases is based on the view that sex crimes have a unique ability to (re)enact gender views and regimes. This investigation focuses on (a) rape myths performativity in discourse (i.e. the discursive construction of the “light-severe” scaling of rape and rape victim) and (b) the judicial specificity of discursive violence (i.e. how sentencing principles of taking into consideration each case’s singularity and circumstances is transposed to a scaling of the female victim’s sexual “guiltiness”). The paper argues that rape should be understood specifically, albeit singularly, as a crime of violence, the encroachment of human rights, humiliation and inhuman treatment and that responsibility for the crime should always be attributable to the rapist and never to the victim. The language used in court decisions in such cases should take into consideration how gender norms and subject positioning are re-enacted in the use of terms such as sexual intercourse, consent, violence, denial, resistance, innocence and guilt, and become more alert to these terms, rendering examinable, assessable and negotiable the human rights, dignity and humanity of women as sexual subjects.« (Source: Article)


  Introduction (p. 135)
  Rape Myths and Decisions Selection (p. 137)
  Decisions' Analysis (p. 138)
    Aristotelis C. Loizias v. The Republic (1969) (p. 138)
    Andreas S. Lemonas v. The Republic (1986) (p. 139)
    Andreas N. Onisiforou v. The Police (1987) (p. 139)
    Ionnis G. Sofocleous v. The Republic (1998) (p. 140)
    Andreas S. Yiagkou v. The Republic (1999) (p. 140)
    The Republic v. Michalis Ouple (2011) (p. 141)
    Scott G. Brierley v. The Police (2012) (p. 141)
    Depo Supo Fowokan v. The Republic (2014) (p. 142)
  Discussion (p. 144)
  Conclusion (p. 144)
  References (p. 145)
  Appendix (p. 146)